June 10, 2023

Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra has been the main target of a lot controversy and backlash, not least as a result of Egypt’s most well-known monarch has been portrayed as a Black girl within the four-part docudrama.

Adele James, a British actress who’s of combined race, stars because the queen within the Netflix manufacturing, which debuted on Could 10. Jada Pinkett Smith serves as narrator and government producer of the manufacturing, which is a part of the African Queens collection.

In promotional materials from Netflix, Pinkett Smith is quoted as saying: “We do not usually get to see or hear tales about Black queens, and that was actually necessary for me, in addition to for my daughter, and only for my neighborhood to have the ability to know these tales as a result of there are tons of them!”

Many historians and consultants on historical Egypt disagree with Pinkett Smith, as a substitute saying Cleopatra was of Macedonian heritage and sure fair-skinned. Nonetheless, not everybody shares this view. Different students have argued that she could have had extra ancestries, and her complexion may not have been truthful, on condition that her mom’s id and background stay disputed.

Jada Pinkett Smith on November 30, 2022, in Los Angeles. It has been claimed in a not too long ago revealed article that she blamed “white supremacy” for the vital response to her new Netflix docuseries “Queen Cleopatra.”
Steve Granitz/FilmMagic/Getty Pictures

Formally named Cleopatra VII, the monarch dominated through the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 B.C. Cleopatra’s stature in fashionable tradition grew thanks partly to Hollywood options, which regularly featured the queen being portrayed by white actresses resembling Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh.

Extra not too long ago, the talk about Cleopatra’s look once more flared up in 2020 when Israeli actress Gal Gadot was solid because the ruler for an upcoming undertaking. Folks on social media complained that an Arab or African actress ought to have gotten the half, and Gadot defended her casting throughout a BBC interview wherein she stated a Macedonian actress was not out there.

Within the days since Queen Cleopatra was launched this month, it has achieved one of many lowest rankings on Rotten Tomatoes, the evaluation aggregation web site. The docuseries presently holds a 15 % approval score amongst critics, whereas simply 3 % of the viewing public have shared constructive critiques.

The Declare

A Twitter submit purporting to depict Pinkett Smith’s response to the controversy and poor rankings was shared on the platform on Could 16 and subsequently went viral.

The post, which has been considered greater than 29 million occasions, included a hyperlink to an article headlined: “Jada Pinkett Smith Says ‘White Supremacy’ Liable for Cleopatra’s Horrible Viewers Rating.”

“Jada Pinkett Smith says she blames ‘white supremacists’ for the flop of her new Netflix docudrama collection, Queen Cleopatra, which has one the worst viewers rankings in U.S. tv historical past,” learn a caption from a Twitter person referred to as Patricia Dickson.

The caption is taken from the opening paragraph of the article, which additionally claims: “As a part of Jada’s ‘woke’ campaign, she compelled the present’s producers to alter the race of Cleopatra to match her personal.”

“Cleopatra was Greek, which suggests she was fair-skinned, not Black,” the article quotes former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass as saying.

The rest of the article consists of an outline of the lifetime of the actual Cleopatra, in addition to info on Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary’s not too long ago filed lawsuit in opposition to over the manufacturing.

“Hollywood does not care about historic accuracy so long as the present is a success amongst ‘woke’ audiences,” learn a line within the article, bylined to Sean Adl-Tabatabai.

As an example its assertion that Queen Cleopatra “is a dud,” a pair of tweets reacting to the low Rotten Tomatoes rankings had been embedded into the article.

“It is time for Netflix to confess these things is not working,” learn one embedded tweet from conservative commentator Sean Hannity.

The article concluded with disparaging Queen Cleopatra critiques from viewers. At no level was info shared to help the headline or opening paragraph. Pinkett Smith was not quoted in any respect within the article.

The Info

Whereas the article and its headline have sparked furor and spirited dialogue amongst social media customers, there isn’t any proof that Pinkett Smith ever made the assertion attributed to her.

Egyptian lawyer al-Semary did, certainly, file a lawsuit over the docudrama. His April submitting not solely requested authorized motion be taken in opposition to the makers of the present however for Netflix to be shut down in Egypt.

“Most of what Netflix platform shows don’t conform to Islamic and societal values and ideas, particularly Egyptian ones,” al-Semary stated in his grievance, in accordance with the Egypt Impartial.

The identical publication additionally reported in April that former Egyptian minister Hawass was amongst those that voiced disapproval of the depiction of Cleopatra’s race.

Nonetheless, there isn’t any info to help the declare that Pinkett Smith publicly blamed “white supremacy” for the response to Queen Cleopatra. Up to now, she is but to publicly touch upon the backlash.

Additional, the article was revealed a web site that may be a rebrand of NewsPunch—an outlet that has been named by a number of respected retailers as a prolific purveyor of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

YourNewsWire was based in 2014 and rebranded as NewsPunch in 2018. The rebranded website continues to be credited for articles which are demonstrably false.

In 2017, Buzzfeed named NewsPunch because the second-largest supply of fashionable pretend information tales shared on Fb that yr.

In a June 2018 evaluation by Poynter, NewsPunch was recognized as having had articles debunked greater than 80 occasions in 2017 and 2018 by fact-checkers accredited by the nonprofit media institute. These included such retailers because the Related Press, PolitiFact, Snopes and FactCheck.org.

The European Union’s East StatCom Job Power, fashioned by the European Council to offer info to the European Union and its member states on the extent of Russian disinformation campaigns, has beforehand accused the location of spreading Russian propaganda. NewsPunch co-founder Sean Adl-Tabatabai has denied the duty pressure’s accusations.

Newsweek has reached out to representatives of NewsPunch by way of electronic mail for remark.

The Ruling



There is no such thing as a proof that Pinkett Smith ever made the remark that has been attributed to her.

Additional, the article that originated the declare doesn’t quote Pinkett Smith, or present any attribution as to the place she would have purportedly made the remark.

Whereas the false quotes have gained traction on social media, the web site accountable for the article has been broadly assessed as an outlet that has revealed a number of pretend information tales.

The identical outlet beforehand revealed an misguided article stating that actor Mel Gibson had spoken of Hollywood elites of torturing and murdering youngsters, earlier than ingesting their blood in satanic rituals. Gibson’s spokesperson instructed Newsweek in March that this was “fully false.”

Newsweek has reached out to a consultant of Pinkett Smith by way of electronic mail for remark.